British School of Lisbon appoints new head
The British School of Lisbon (BSL) appoints Stephen Spicer as the new Head of the highly-regarded international school in Lisbon. With a wide leadership experience gained in highly regarded schools around the world, Stephen Spicer will lead the school as it enters the next exciting phase in its continued development and replaces Zoe Hubbard who has retired after successfully directing the school since it opened in 2019.
Stephen has spent the last 26 years in education, 12 years in the UK and 14 years internationally. He has a National Professional Qualification for Headship (NPQH) from the National College for School Leadership, Nottingham, a PGCE from the Institute of Education, University of London, and a first-class honours degree in Business Administration from the University of Wales, College of Cardiff (UWCC). Prior to starting his academic career, he worked for five years in market research and publishing before retraining to become a teacher in 1997.
Immediately prior to going overseas, between 2002 and 2009, Stephen worked at the Boston Grammar School in the UK. As the Head of Sixth Form, each year he supported hundreds of students prepare for their transition to top universities in the United Kingdom and around the world.
Stephen’s first international posting was in 2009 at the British School of Bahrain (BSB), Bahrain. He was employed as the Deputy Head of Senior School and while at the BSB he helped to develop the school and expand student numbers. In 2014 he secured his first headship, becoming Head of Secondary at the renowned Academia Británica Cuscatleca school in Santa Tecla, San Salvador, El Salvador.
He returned to the Middle East in 2016 to become the Headmaster of Sherborne Senior School, Sherborne Qatar. Sherborne Qatar is the only overseas sister school of the prestigious and historic Sherborne School, Dorset, UK. While at Sherborne Qatar, Stephen helped raise academic and pastoral standards and worked on large-scale development projects, including the new all-through girls’ school, which opened in 2020, and the new Sherborne Senior School campus, which opened in 2021.
As Headmaster of Sherborne Senior School, Stephen elevated the school to become one of the highest performing schools in Qatar and in the region. Throughout his career Stephen has been instrumental in raising standards at each school that he has helped to lead.
The new Headmaster of the BSL believes that success in a school is not just measured academically, that traditional values are important and that, in a friendly and welcoming environment, students should be known as individuals. Stephen believes that children can only realise their potential when they are happy and recognised for their uniqueness.
“If we encourage children, if we celebrate their successes, then they feel good in all aspects of their schooling. Giving children a wealth of opportunities inside and outside of the classroom builds confidence and helps to foster confident, responsible and emotionally intelligent global citizens. Students need to engage in and be responsible for their own learning. They need to know what they are good at and what they need to do to improve. It’s about nurturing a growth mindset, perseverance and a ‘can-do’ attitude. Once a child feels good about themselves and what they can achieve, they gain the confidence to do more and try even harder. With today’s world being increasingly changeable, what’s also important is to instil the need for, and love of, lifelong learning”.
When asked what attracted him to the British School of Lisbon, Stephen responded that he “wanted to embrace a new challenge in a reputable and high achieving school”.
“The school´s vision, to be a World Leading School, appealed to me and its mission, guiding principles and ethos closely aligned to my own educational philosophy. The British School of Lisbon being part of The Schools Trust was a further significant attraction. The Schools Trust brings so much experience, energy and support, and is dedicated to achieving the highest standards for students. I was, of course, also attracted by the beautiful and culturally rich city of Lisbon. As a family, we are really looking forward to exploring Lisbon and the rest of Portugal”, reassures the Headmaster.
Stephen´s aim is to build upon BSL´s successful early years and to be able to support the school community as the school continues to grow, with the impending new state-of-the-art facilities at Belenenses, in Restelo, and the introduction of secondary year groups from Year 8 to Year 13.
“At BSL, we wanted to find a new Head who embodies our commitment to excellence and shares our passion for making BSL an internationally renowned school. Stephen, a remarkable leader with unparalleled experience and dedication, perfectly aligned with our vision and we look forward to seeing him lead the school in this next phase of growth”, says Jessica Ordovas, director of The Schools Trust, the group that founded BSL and whose Trustees have opened over 20 campuses in major cities around the world, including Asia, Europe and South America.